Sofinnova Investments-led syndicate forms CV play CinCor with $50M, Roche castoff
Picking up one of Roche’s few remaining clinical cardiometabolism assets, Sofinnova Investments has joined Sofinnova Partners, 5AM Ventures and CinRx to launch CinCor with a $50 million series A and exclusive, worldwide rights to the pharma’s aldosterone synthase inhibitor.
CinRx President and CEO Jon Isaacsohn told BioCentury the company acquired CIN-107 because of its specificity as an ALDOS inhibitor that does not affect cortisol levels, plus its safety profile. The deal comes several years after Roche began seeking partners for its cardiovascular and metabolism assets after deciding to phase out R&D in these therapeutic areas. The decision followed discontinuation of Type II diabetes program aleglitazar and high-profile CETP inhibitor dalcetrapib (see “New York Translation”).
CinCor Inc., of which Isaacsohn is also CEO, will develop CIN-107 (formerly RO6836191) for treatment-resistant hypertension and primary aldosteronism. The company will be responsible for development and commercialization; Roche will receive an upfront payment and is eligible for milestones plus royalties, but does not have an equity stake in the newco, according to Isaacsohn, who declined to disclose financial terms.
“It’s potentially a more efficient clinical development path.”
David Allison, 5AM Ventures
5AM’s David Allison pointed to Phase I data for CIN-107 as one reason the firm decided to back the start-up. In a 2017 paper published in Hypertension, Roche said that single-ascending doses of CIN-107 decreased aldosterone levels without changing cortisol levels and was well tolerated in a Phase I trial in healthy subjects.
Allison also cited FDA guidance indicating that companies developing therapies for treatment-resistant hypertension don’t need to do long-term CV outcomes studies, adding that approval can be based on reduction in ambulatory blood pressure data alone.
“It’s potentially a more efficient clinical development path than what we’ve seen for other cardiovascular indications,” he said.
Isaacsohn said the series A will enable CinCor to advance CIN-107 through proof-of-concept Phase II trials. He added that a multiple-ascending dose Phase I will begin by early next year, with Phase II testing slated for late 2H20.
At least three compounds are in the clinic for treatment-resistant hypertension, with the most advanced being Phase III compound aprocitentan, a dual endothelin receptor antagonist, from Idorsia Ltd. (SIX:IDIA) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).
Allison, along with Sofinnova Investments’ Jim Healy and Sofinnova Partners’ Maina Bhaman, will join CinCor’s board.
Founded in 2015, CinRx Pharma LLC (Cincinnati, Ohio) partners with or acquires assets from venture funds, academia and biopharmas, then spins out an independent company to develop the program.
The company was co-founded by Isaacsohn and Catherine Pearce, veterans from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE:TEVA; Tel Aviv:TEVA). Isaacsohn was CMO of Teva. Pearce is CinRx and CinCor COO and was VP of R&D at Teva.
Other CinRx spinouts include CinDome Pharma, which is developing CIN-102, a deuterated form of DRD2/DRD3 antagonist domperidone for gastroparesis; and CinPhloro Pharma, which is developing CIN-103, immediate release/sustained release phloroglucinol for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D). Isaacsohn declined to disclose details.
CinRx raised a $26 million series A in 2015 and $10 million in a series B in 2017.
Targets: ALDOS (CYP11B2) – Aldosterone synthase; CETP – Cholesteryl ester transfer protein; DRD2 – Dopamine D2 receptor